News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Al Mengert, April 7, 1929 — April 6, 2021

Al Mengert of Black Butte Ranch passed away one day shy of his 92nd birthday at his home in Carefree, Arizona. A devout Catholic, Al was born to Tillie and Otto Mengert and was raised in Spokane, Washington, along with his older brother Richard (deceased).

Growing up near Downriver Golf Club, Al showed an interest in golf at an early age and learned about the game from his father. After briefly attending Stanford University, he married his childhood sweetheart, Donna Marie Jacobsen, just prior to enlisting in the Air Force during the Korean War. He was temporarily excused from his duties to play in his first Masters in 1951. To this day, he is the only active military member ever to compete in the Masters.

After being named the top-ranking amateur in the world at age 23, Al went on to take his first job as an assistant pro (under former Master’s Champion, Claude Harmon) at Winged Foot Golf Club. Over the years, he went on to be the director of golf at several legendary clubs throughout the country, most notably, Oakland Hills Country Club (OHCC) in Birmingham, Michigan. During his 14-year tenure at OHCC, he hosted the 1979 PGA Championship, the 1981 U.S. Senior Open, and the 1985 U.S. Open.

Al was one of the greatest club pro players in history and competed in 29 major championships, including eight Masters. He was the first-round leader of the 1966 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Al won numerous Sectional PGA and Senior PGA events throughout the USA. He was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s Hall of Fame in 2001, the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2019, and most recently, the New Jersey Golf Hall of Fame where he was once known as “The New Jersey Slammer.”

In addition to teaching and competing, Al had an eye for designing golf clubs. He designed an elite set of woods for Spalding and founded his own golf club company, JAWS. Al also had a keen interest in golf course design which resulted in his founding Legend Trail Golf Club located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Even though Al was deeply immersed in golf, he always had a deep appreciation for all sports. As an ardent New York Yankees fan, he was thrilled to witness Don Larsen’s perfect game in person during the 1956 World Series. To this day, he has the only color movie footage of a feat that’s never been repeated during a World Series.

Al was also a seasoned Western art aficionado and collector. He enjoyed writing, home decorating, and designing, and loved entertaining his many guests with his intriguing golf stories from his days on the tour. He had an incredible memory and could recount his stories in complete detail.

Most recently, Al donated a statue of Our Lady of Fatima that is currently placed at the front entrance of St. Edward Catholic Church in Sisters. Al will rest at St. Winefride’s Garden beside his beloved wife, Donna, who passed away in 2003.

Al was affectionately referred to as Dad, Pops, Father, Uncle Al, Grandpa and Papa. His family cherishes their childhood memories of him most of all. He passed down his love of the outdoors, his adventurous spirit, and his gift of creativity and imagination. Al is survived by his four children: Thomas Mengert, Terry Mengert, M.D. (Carin), Tana Sackett and Trayce Sprouse (Bob), and his five grandchildren, Dan, Hollie, Kurt, Mark and Courtney.


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